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handicaps of poverty, brought on a temporary breakdown. 4I
became so absorbed in my investigation of the unity of all
physical laws that when the subject of the trial lecture was
given me, I could not tear myself away from my research.
Then, partly as a result of brooding on it, partly from staying
indoors too much in this vile weather, I fell ill; my old trouble
recurred with great pertinacity and I could not get on with my
work. Only several weeks later, when the weather improved and
I got more social stimulation, I began feeling better. For the
summer I have rented a house hi a garden, and since doing so
my health has not bothered me. Having finished two weeks
after Easter a piece of work I could not get out of, I began at
once working on my trial lecture and finished it around Pente-
cost [that is, in about seven weeks]. I had some difficulty in
getting a date for my lecture right away and almost had to
return to Quickborn without having reached my goal. For
Gauss is seriously ill and the physicians fear that his death is
imminent. Being too weak to examine me, he asked me to wait
till August, hoping that he might improve, especially as I
would not lecture anyhow till fall. Then he decided anyway on
the Friday after Pentecost to set the lecture for the next day at
eleven-thirty. On Saturday I was happily through with every-
This is Riemann's own account of the historic lecture which
was to revolutionize differential geometry and prepare the way
for the geometrized physics of our own generation. In the same
letter he tells how the work he had been doing around Easter
turned out. Weber and some of his collaborators 'had made
very exact measurements of a phenomenon which up tiH then
had never been investigated, the residual charge in a Leyden
jar [after discharge it is found that the jar is not completely
discharged] ... I sent frim [one of Weber's collaborators,
Kohlrausch] my theory of this phenomenon, having worked it
out specially for his purposes. I had found the explanation of
the phenomenon through my general investigations of the con-
nexion between electricity, light, and magnetism. -.. This
matter was important to me, because it was the first time I
could apply my work to a phenomenon stall unknown, and I